The feeling of having no control is what does you in.
My hands were sweating. I casually pressed them against the sides of my pants. I glanced down at the meat case. A large roll of salami was squeezed in between two rolls of assorted sausages. My mouth was watering. I could literally taste the sweet and salty salami as I chewed it slowly. I was not sure how long I could stand by the meat case. I was not sure how long I could control myself.
The butcher came back to the counter from the back room. He put a white package of veal cutlets on the counter. He told the woman standing at the counter in front of me that, “If those don’t melt in your mouth, you bring them back to me. I’ll eat the rest and give you a refund.” She laughed and said that he knew he had the best cutlets around. He thanked her as she left the counter and called, “Next,” and looked at me. I had stepped up closer to the counter. “What’ll you have?” I told him a roast for twenty people with double portions for all of them. In his booming voice he told me I had an army to feed. “I know just what you need.” He left the counter to go in the back room.
With no one standing behind me I eyed the roll of salami in the meat case. My hands were no longer sweating. They were soaked. The tips of my fingers tingled from excitement. My mind raced with anticipation. My heart pounded. Fear and excitement were so intertwined they were one. A wave of desire washed over me. Instinct took over.
Before I could reason with myself on why not to take it, I had grabbed the salami from the meat case and was running for the door. Behind me I heard the butcher’s rough voice yelling for me to, “Get back here!” My high heels clacked against the floor. I felt my shoes slipping on the clean floor. My heart was in my throat. The door was ten feet away. I had to turn slightly to my left. When I did my foot almost slipped out from under me. I recovered my balance just in time to stop from falling.
The bag boy was turning around to see what the commotion was about. As he turned his head to look I shot by him.
I stepped on the mat in front of the door. The electronic door had opened a few inches. Not enough for even my small frame to get through. I turned sideways and went through the small opening that continued to widen.
Once outside I ran toward my van. It was parked along the curb up from Marty’s Butcher’s Shop. I pressed the key fob without breaking my stride. Grabbed the van’s door handle. Yanked the door open. Jumped inside and started the engine. Slammed it into D and gunned the gas.
Down the road with no one following me I laughed and laughed. I did not slow down for miles.
Feeling confident that the police had not given chase I glanced at myself in the rearview mirror. I laughed for a few more minutes before I cried for thirty minutes.
I am a thief, shoplifter, kleptomaniac, and whatever else describes me. I don’t know why. I don’t need the things I steal. I just steal them. I am afraid what will happen to my husband and children once I’m caught. It’s just a matter of time. I know I must stop. And I am building up to the last time. Then I will quit forever.
I checked my watch. I needed to head back home in an hour. I had to pick up the kids from school and start dinner.
I stopped outside of a clothing store and told myself, “One item and be gone.”
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